Friday, April 24, 2009

NFL Draft Notes

I admitted in my very first post that I have an unhealthy obsession with the NFL, and especially with the draft. I spend way too much time at night reading any articles I can find, scouring all of the rumors, and doing my best to try to understand what's going to happen in an event that can't really be predicted. Usually, part of my draft prep includes reading as many mock drafts as possible, but this year I just don't have the stomach for them. I'm not exactly an NFL scout, and I don't pretend to know nearly as much as most of the professional reporters do. Yet this year I couldn't help but be appalled at the glaring inaccuracies of so many mock drafts. Even the experts that I trust, with all their inside information, seem to be missing the boat on several picks. This puts me in quite a bind. On one hand, I really don't want to join the growing number of people who have wasted time trying to forecast what will happen, but on the other, I'm extremely confident that I can do better than them.

After some thought, I've decided that I will go ahead and try to mock the complete first round of the draft. While this will almost certainly be an epic waste of time, I've found a few contests that I can enter that will at least let me justify the activity to myself. So be on the lookout tomorrow for the first annual Moore Madness Mock Draft. In the meantime, here are a few places where I disagree with several of the experts. I only wish I had posted these earlier, as many of the news stories today seem to be confirming some of the conclusions I drew a week ago.

1) Outside of QB, almost no position warrants the kind of money teams in the top ten will have to shell out to sign their picks. With that being said, Detroit is the only team in the first nine picks that will even consider drafting a QB. I don't care how much people say they like Mark Sanchez, you just don't pay that kind of money to a QB if you don't need him. Bulger is making too much in St. Louis, Hasselbeck still has some gas in the tank for Seattle, Cleveland already has enough of a mess without adding a third body to the mix, Oakland is still developing JaMarcus Russell, and Jacksonville isn't ready to give up on David Garrard. Stafford will go #1 overall to Detroit, and Sanchez will fall to at least #10, where the 49ers may or may not take him. The only way Sanchez's position improves is if Cleveland manages to trade Brady Quinn (and that still doesn't guarantee they'd take another QB) or if Washington mortgages yet another future draft to move up.

2) B.J. Raji isn't falling out of the top 10. Teams build from the inside out, so there's no way the best DT in the draft falls that far, especially when he can play in either the 3-4 or the 4-3. And forget about his "character concerns." The rumors of him failing a drug test were proven to be untrue, and nothing else negative has been said about him. I wouldn't be at all shocked if KC takes him at #3.

3) Chris "Beanie" Wells isn't going to the Saints. They can get the power back they need later in the draft. Their first-round pick needs to fill one of the many holes they have on defense. Look for them to take Malcolm Jenkins here and move him inside to Free Safety.

4) Everyone in the top five would like to trade down. Nobody in the top five will actually get to do it. No one except Washington wants to pay the salaries associated with those picks, and Washington doesn't have the ammo to move up that far.

5) The Bucs will NOT draft a QB in the first round, and may not take one at all. Leftwich and McCown will fight for the starting job, and Josh Johnson will hang on as the 3rd QB. Griese will either get cut or traded. Tampa's new regime is content to roll with what they've got for a year, but may look to cash in on next year's strong QB class if things don't pan out.

6) I wish I had posted this before the Tony Gonzalez trade went down today, but the Falcons were not ever planning to draft a TE in the first round. They have too many defensive needs to spend an early pick on a position that historically hasn't been used in their offensive schemes. The reason they pulled the trigger on Gonzo is because they didn't have to give up a pick in this year's draft to do it.

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